Sunday, 18 October 2015

Excellent Day on The Peninsular!

A brilliant day started with a wander from the Observatory towards the Desert. As I crossed The Moat 2 Ring Ouzels and 2 Redwing broke cover, overhead the first of several Brambling wheezed, Siskins were calling most unseen. In The Desert more Ring Ouzels, Redwings, Fieldfare, Song Thrushes and a Mistle Thrush flew over, also Goldfinches, Chaffinches, Redpolls, Reed Buntings more Siskins and Brambling and 100s of Swallows. In the bushes Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests, a few Blackcaps, Tits, including a flock of 17 Long-tailed Tits. I missed a party of 4 Continental Coal Tits were trapped just as I was tucking into a fry up. A male Peregrine put on an aerial performance chasing off  2 Ravens. This afternoon a flock of 5 Ring Ouzels(minimum of 15 for the day) dropped into The Desert and 2 more Short-eared Owls appeared. For full details of numbers see D.B.O.Web Site
Late afternoon at the ARC by the track to the Pines several Cetti's Warblers calling, both Green and Great-spotted Woodpeckers were seen, more Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests. Walking out to the airport Pits I flushed a Common Snipe, another Ring Ouzel flew towards the mirrors also several Redwings, at the pits a Merlin tried to catch a couple of large Bats, 2 more Short-eared Owls were seen and 4 Marsh Harriers roosted.  
 Short-eared Owls

 Ring Ouzel +DNA
Ring Ouzel

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Owls and Goldcrests!

I've not posted the last couple of days due to domestic stuff and problems with windows 10 which hopefully have now been resolved.
In the last few days I have spent most of my birding time around the bushes at Dungeness. Although there was not large numbers of grounded migrants, overhead migration has been quite good, with many Siskin, Redpoll, Goldfinches, Chaffinches also Fieldfares, Redwings, Song Thrushes, Ring Ouzels, Reed Buntings, Bramblings, Meadow Pipits and few Swallows and House Martins. In the bushes Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs were fairly numerous, some Blackcaps also Common and Lesser Whitethroat. A few Wheatears, Stonechats and Black Redstarts were seen each day.  This afternoon an influx of Short-eared Owls with at 6 in the Desert and 2 more in the Kerton Road Triangle.
 Goldcrest Willow Trail

 Short-eared Owl 

 1 of 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls in the beach roost
 JE680 Great Black Backed Gull
Sea watching has been very poor recently, though I did see a Sooty Shearwater fly west this afternoon, while in the early mornings a Merlin has been hunting incoming migrants.
On the reserve still at least 10 Great White Egrets usually around Burrowes pit. A ring tailed Hen Harrier was seen at the back of the ARC yesterday afternoon per SO. 
 Wheatear 1 of 3 in the Desert today
Hare in the Desert

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Short-eared Owls!

07.55-08.30 from The Point a slow watch but enlivened by the Short-eared Owl coming in.
Brent Goose: 57W     1E
Wigeon: 10W
Shoveler: 4W
Common Scoter: 7E
Gannet: 26E 14W
Sandwich Tern: 1W
Auk sp: 4W  1E
Short-eared Owl: 1 in
 Short-eared Owl arriving off the sea.
 Jack Snipe near the Long Pits
I spent 3hrs out in the Desert/Trapping Area/Long Pits this morning, once again it was hard work in the brisk North wind with a few showers. A steady trickle of Siskins and Goldfinches flew over with very small numbers of Redpolls, Skylarks Song Thrushes, Redwing, Fieldfare and only 5 Swallows. however another Short-eared Owl was nice as was a Jack snipe found by Owen Leyshon. In the bushes a few Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests also a Lesser and Common Whitethroat.
Short-eared Owl over The Desert
 Yellow-legged Gull in the beach roost today.
From Dennis's Hide 8 Great White Egrets and 7 Little Egrets could be seen, also Shoveler numbers appear to building there.
 This Great Black Backed Gull is unable to fold it's wings properly. This does not seem to be any real problem for the Gull as it has been like it for a few years.
Another sea watch from The Point 13.30-14.30 was again very slow:
Brent Goose: 7W
Great Crested Grebe: 3 around
Gannet: 16E
Kestrel: 1 in
Mediterranean Gull: 1 around
Sandwich Tern: 4W
Auk sp: 3W
Harbour Porpoise: 2+
A quick look around Lydd Wood found of note a Jay, which was probably a migrant.
Scotney had very little of note apart from a Marsh Harrier and a common Buzzard there.
A plod around Dengemarsh Gully found of note, a Ring Ouzel, 3 Chiffchaffs and a Raven over.  
Short-eared Owl Galloways
Late afternoon at Galloways a Short-eared Owl showed well, also 2 Stonechats and 2 Marsh Harriers there.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Migration Slows!

A 30 minute sea watch first thing this morning from The Point was cold and fruitless, 17 Brent Geese flew west and a handful each of Gannets and Sandwich Terns.
At the observatory a walk around The Moat yielded a single Ring Ouzel, several Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests, also Siskins, Redpolls, Goldfinches and Swallows over. A couple of hours in the trapping area was hard work in the strong north wind, more Siskins, Redpolls, Goldfinches, Skylarks, Swallows and a few House Martins were seen and heard also 1500+ Starlings came in. In the bushes a few Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests nut the wind made in more or less un-birdable. A quick look from Dennis's hide saw 8 Great White Egrets on Burrowes sheltering under the causeway bank.
A windswept Scotney held the usual feral geese, 15 Golden Plover, good numbers of Wigeon and a few more Swallows. 
Dengemarsh Gully was also un-birdable in the wind.
Another 30 minute sea watch this afternoon from The Point saw little change from this morning, apart from a 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull. Sometimes it's best just to give up and go home.  
A late afternoon call from MH about 3 Short-eared Owls showing on Galloways, just a couple of minutes drive from home nearly got me back out again but I was comfortable in the armchair with a hot cup of tea and a packet of Bourbons no contest! 
The moth trap has been quite poor lately though a Delicate was a nice surprise, a Vapourer and Green-brindled Crescent were new for the year.
Green-brindled Crescent

Monday, 12 October 2015

All the Sprites!

I spent another excellent day at Dungeness plodding between the Lighthouse and the Pumping Station at the Long Pits. I parked at the observatory and wandered towards the bushes. Immediately 4 Ring Ouzels flew over, I hadn't gone far when I met DW carrying bird bags one of which contained a Yellow-browed Warbler. 
Another wander out among the bushes with AJG found more Ring Ouzels (43 my day total) and more Thrushes arriving, c30 Song Thrushes, 6 Redwing, 24 Fieldfare, a Mistle Thrush, Brambling, 100+ Siskin, 300+ Goldfinches, lesser numbers of  Redpoll, Linnet and Chaffinch. Goldcrests are seemingly abundant this year. Other sightings of note there this morning were 2 Marsh Harriers, 131 Swallows, 27 House Martins and 3 Black Redstarts.

 Yellow-browed Warbler
 Pallas's Warbler (in the hand pics don't do it justice)
This afternoon a Pallas's Warbler made its way into one of the nets and was duly processed and admired by most of the locals. Also a Short-eared Owl was seen briefly being hotly pursued and harried across The Desert by several Magpies.

 Firecrest another Gem!
The Yellow-browed Warbler and the Pallas's Warbler were both released into The Moat neither were seen again. However there were 2 fairly showy Firecrests one of which was ringed, lots of Goldcrests, some Chiffchaffs mostly ringed, an unringed Common Whitethroat and another Ring Ouzel.
 Goldcrest (abundant this autumn)
 Flighty Ring Ouzels

 Short-eared Owl being pestered by Magpie's
Poor shot of a Brambling but the first this year for me (No.210) on the local patch.

Sunday, 11 October 2015


First stop this morning was the old lighthouse, AJG was already there staring into the garden at the few Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs present, overhead passage was virtually non existent. We made our way to the observatory where DW had heard a Woodlark over The Desert. We hadn't got far into The Desert when we heard loud distress calls very nearby. 2 Crows and 2 Magpies were attacking and obviously trying to kill a medium size passerine, we quickly chased off the attackers and found an exhausted 1w Blackbird cowering in tiny piece of scrub. It allowed me to pick it up, on examination it was bleeding slightly from a wound behind its eye. We abandoned our Woodlark search in The desert to take the Blackbird into the trapping area to release it into the safety of the dense Sallows. On release it flew deep inside the Sallows, so hopefully it will recover from its ordeal. As we were now in the trapping area we carried on along the Pilot Path, as we came to the eastern edge of the Sallows AJG spotted a Pallas's Warbler which showed its self briefly before disappearing back into the depth of the Sallows. I'd like to think that the Pallas's Warbler was the birding gods reward to us for saving the Blackbird, fate certainly led us to it.The rest of the morning was uneventful.
This afternoon I had a look around Dengemarsh and surrounding fields, apart from Marsh Harriers and the briefest of flight views of a Bittern I saw little of note. I checked the stubble fields for the Crane but were several tractors ploughing them and no sign of the Crane. 
Mid afternoon by the fishing boats Mick and the 2 Richards had attracted a 2 Caspian Gulls with there bucket of fish, Popcorn and loaves of bread. A short video of the 1w bird can be seen Here  .    
 1w Caspian Gull
 1w Caspian Gull with full crop
 2w Caspian Gull
Another victim of anglers!
 Herring Gull that has swallowed a hook with at least 2 more wrapped around its body.
 On the reserve a minimum of 10 Great White Egrets, also a steady build up of Wigeon, Pintail and other winter wildfowl. At the ARC by the track to the Pines several Cetti's Warblers were calling, also a few each of  Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests and Blackcaps.
Wheatear behind the fishing boats!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Common Crane on the garden list!

I joined MH at The Point this morning for more vis migging/sea watching. The sea was very quiet, the only interest was the juvenile Pomarine Skua beating up the gulls. Overhead passage was much slower than yesterday with no exceptional numbers of passerines. 
At the observatory plenty of Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs being ringed along with a few Redpolls, though the trapping area was seemingly quiet but plenty of migrants in the Moat.
PB had seen 2 Dartford Warblers at Galloways, after missing yesterdays one I made my way there dropping in home on the way. While having a coffee in the garden 4 Common Buzzards flew low over.  
1 of 4 Common Buzzards over Plodland. Pity they were all straight into the sun.
At Galloways I joined Dave brown and family but the Dartford Warblers were long gone, however we did see 9+ Stonechats, 2 Whinchats and 13+ Common Buzzards.
I went back home for lunch and had just started eating when Dave Brown phoned me to say a Crane was flying over reserve, I dashed out of the house and scanned across the fields, spotting it and firing some long distance record shots.  
 Common Crane from the Plodland garden(Heavily cropped)
 Common Crane Dengemarsh
After calling other locals I drove to Dengemarsh, where I had some better views of the bird as it circled around causing the 100s of Greylag Geese to take to the air all calling loudly also a Bittern. It eventually landed in the fields at the back of Dengemarsh out of view, so myself and CT parked at Springfield Bridge and started to walk around to the hide. As we crossed the bridge the Crane flew across the lake spooking all the Greylags again, then landed in the field in front of us giving us superb views. A short video of the Crane can be seen HERE .  Thanks to Dave for the call and Steve for spotting it coming in over the power station.
  Common Crane Dengemarsh
 Common Crane Dengemarsh
This evening at the Egret roost 10 Great White Egrets and 19 Little Egrets came into the ARC roost but no Cattle Egret.

Thursday, 8 October 2015


This morning I met AJG and MH at The Point for more vis migging/sea watching. A light NW wind was blowing and the sky was cloudless, 100s of passerines were passing overhead calling constantly mostly stratospheric and unseen. Linnets and Goldfinches seemed to be in the majority, but also Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails, Reed Buntings, Greenfinches, Swallows, a few Skylarks, a Grey Wagtail also 2 Wheatears on the beach. The gull roost held 2 Mediterranean Gulls and 1w Yellow-legged Gull, while on the sea of note 3 Arctic Skuas and the lingering Pomarine Skua. 
 Siskin at the Long Pits
A walk with AJG from the observatory to the northern end of the Long Pits and back, produced 52 Chiffchaffs, more Siskins and Redpolls over, 2 Grey Wagtail, a few each of Goldcrests and Blackcaps, a Firecrest and 2 Sparrowhawks of note. A Dartford Warbler was seen at West Beach but had vanished by the time I arrived, though there was still plenty of Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests in the Gorse as well as a Black Redstart. 
Black Redstart at Lloyds
While I was at home having lunch, DB called me to say 11 Common Buzzards were thermalling over the fields opposite my house. I went outside and scanned around finding 12+ Common Buzzards and a Peregrine.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Vis Mig and a Bat!

 Juvenile Pomarine Skua
Vis migging today from The Point with MH,DW and AJG who kindly collated the numbers
07.00-10.45                                                     14.30-16.00                                                            
Wigeon:    3W
Common Scoter:  10E    8W
Great-crested Grebe:                                           13 around
Gannet:       65W                                                 36W
Kestrel: 1W coasting
Merlin: 1 hunting offshore
Sparrowhawk: 1E coasting
Oystercatcher: 3E
Turnstone: 1 around                                             2 around
Bar-tailed Godwit: 2W
Pomarine Skua: 1 juv around                               1 juv around
Arctic Skua: 4W  2 around                                   2W   2 around                                
Sandwich Tern:   76W                                          42W        33E
Auk sp: 3W                                                            5W
House Martin: 72 out
Swallow: 164 out
Skylark: 10W
Pied Wagtail: 27W
Meadow Pipit: 204W
Goldfinch: 12W
Redpoll: 33W
Siskin: heard only on six occasions
Linnet: 209W
Reed Bunting: 5W
Grey Seal:                                                                1
Harbour Porpoise: 2+                                              3+
Juvenile Pomarine Skua
Whiskered Bat???
News of a Bat species in Makepiece Hide changed my plans of going to The Patch. On arrival at the hide it was very easy to see and totally oblivious to visitors. Tentative identification is a Whiskered Bat, hopefully the experts will let know.
Also from Makepiece a Little Grebe below the hide, also 5 of the 8 Great white Egrets on the reserve could be seen.
Little Grebe
From the entrance track of the reserve a satellite tagged Lesser Black Backed Gull in the reserve along with several colour ringed Gulls. 
Satellite tagged Lesser-black Backed Gull JE9C